The Holy Scriptures admonishes us in Matthew 5:9 that “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” It is a sacred charge on all humanity to be partakers in the process of restoration of peace anywhere it is punctured. God Himself acknowledges the inevitability of wars and conflicts, precipitated by crisis among people, which culminates into what we generally categorize as insecurities.
But the King of the universe and King of Kings has told us through His messengers that “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing,” Ecclesiasticus 3:1-22.
Nigeria is facing a dire and very serious resurgent insecurity in parts of the country. From Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorism to armed banditry, herdsmen marauders, ethno-religious and communal clashes to acts of kidnapping, armed robberies among others. The severity of the insecurity dilemma is well known to every Nigerian.
We have indulged in this self-destruction for too long and it is time to heal and reconcile ourselves and the nation. But some Nigerians are shirking on this divine command for egotistic interests.
President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigerian Military have battled this insecurity menace in the last five years with an exceptional determination and commitment. For reasons best known to the actors of this illegal warfare on the Nigerian state, all entreaties and pleas to their conscience to drop their arms and ammunitions against their compatriots have failed to touch their hearts. Every day, fresh plots of horrendous atrocities on the Nigerian people are hatched and delivered on the country by these devils and their veiled paymasters.
For a country desirous of peace, its citizens collectively unite to confront insecurity threats. Peace cannot just descend from the skies; we must consciously work to have it.
But the thinking in Nigeria is ironic and different. All Nigerians erroneously think, the responsibility of blighting the fires of insecurities which have engulfed our land is the sole burden of Mr. President, the Service Chiefs and the troops on the battlefield. The rest of Nigerians are apathetic to it and have only assigned to themselves the infantile and inglorious role of wailing over the killings and blaming other leaders.
Some of those who blame Mr. President and disparage the Service Chiefs for not doing enough are also leaders in their respective capacities who have a role to play in the entrenchment of peace and security in the country. But they have unrepentantly ignored it.
We have forgotten that there is nowhere wars or conflicts are settled through military might alone. The dialogue table is the most fertile and potent weapon of resolving issues of war than guns. That’s why Malvin Gaye has told us that “War is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate.”
But we are all accomplices in failing ourselves. Everyone is guilty for failing our people and the nation. No matter how much we pretend or try to conceal this reality, but it smoulders with the flames of our guilt. All the stakeholders or leaders of Nigeria are guilty in same decree we delight in blaming the President or anyone else.
How long shall we continue with this dodgy posture on rising in unison to assail the insecurities besieging us? Depending on Mr. President to tackle it alone is like waiting for a tomorrow that may never come. Why have other leaders relinquished their basic and crucial roles of intervention in the respective capacities they preside over the people.
A few days ago, I was extremely cold, upset and astonished with the blitzkrieg of media criticisms of President Buhari when he jetted out to the Republic of Mali to officially mediate in the crisis in that country generated by electoral dispute. Buhari did not decide to busy himself with internal matters of another African country because he has finished solving all the problems of Nigeria. But the President had to act under the banner of ECOWAS and officially as demanded of him.
But some Nigerians deridingly scolded President Buhari and described his actions as abandoning crisis in his country to mediate on the same issues in another country. It is the loud confirmation of our posture of abandoning the entire insecurity crisis in Nigeria to the President alone. This is foolhardy.
None of the critics gave a thought to the symbolism of the President’s actions, which signifies collective actions to solve crisis of monumental proportion. His actions sent the message that leaders are not left alone to handle conflicts of such dimension and magnitude.
Unfortunately, in Nigeria, we have abandoned insecurities to Mr. President. Some simpletons even feel the President should again wear his military uniform and jump into the jungle to personally battle the armed criminals terrorizing Nigeria because he is the leader of the nation.
Therefore, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and activists are silent. When they find it necessary to voice out, they are lamenting or protesting the insecurities in the country. It means these Nigerians can’t think beyond these actions by working on initiatives which can assist government solve the problem of insecurities in Nigeria?
The religious leaders and clerics have also adopted the sit-down look attitude. In fact, some of them even preach inciting sermons in worship places to embolden or lure fresh Nigerians into such crimes against their compatriots, instead of peace. They hardly condemn the actions of the criminals and their sponsors who are dragging our country into this mess or ruination.
And the politicians only exploit the insecurities for politicking advantages. Some are beneficiaries of the insecurities, by using it for commercial value or as a means to grab and permanently hold unto to power. They arm the youths during elections. In the last general elections in the country, some aggressive votes catchers invaded IDPs camp in different parts of the country, manipulated the traumatized and helpless victims of violence to snatch votes.
Traditional rulers have been most disappointing. It is hard to believe that some of them have not only lost their voice, but no initiative of dialogue with subjects or stakeholders to explore ways of complementing government efforts in the fight against insurgencies, armed banditry and other crimes. Regrettably, some of them are even agents of these armed criminals and tormentors of Nigeria.
Bureaucratic bottlenecks are another pain in the neck. For the President to have the National Assembly (NASS) approve budgets for the purchase of weapons for the military to battle insurgencies and insurrections as well as cater for their welfare is usually a tug of war or a combat itself. NASS has refused to grant many requests from the Military to assist them win the war.
Time has come for us to either face the truth or continue with the hellish experiences in our communities. We must begin to collectively act now; we must come together to defeat Boko Haram and the ideology of our killers to appease those the criminals have sent to untimely graves. Excluding ourselves from the battle confronting us is a wrong perception.
Every one of us has a role to play and let’s begin to exercise it now. It is not the responsibility of Mr. President or Service Chiefs exclusively. If we continue with this inclination, it implies that we have all failed ourselves and country. And passing the buck to someone else like Mr. President or the military will do us no good nor can it rescue this nation. For now, we are all guilty. Let’s stop licking our wounds and whining, but embark on appropriate actions.
*** Philip Attah is a pastor and Christian evangelist based in Abuja.